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How long does the transfer take?

Qantas and Air New Zealand lift the passenger from the wheelchair inside the aircraft, and can complete the total transfer in 5 minutes. Where the wheelchair lift is made outside of the aircraft (in an air bridge) then the time the Eagle spends inside the aircraft will be significantly less.

How many staff are required for the transfer?

Two people are required to make the transfer. One must be well trained and practiced in the transfer process. This is significantly less than the number required for a manual lift of a heavy passenger.

What is the reaction from PRM's?

Many of the passengers requiring this level of assistance have had experience with hospital lifters. They are familiar with the process of fitting the slings and have no problem. Most comment on how support and comfortable the sling is.

Passengers should be asked if they have had previous experience with lifters. If not, then the process and the reasons for the process should be explained.

There has been a range of positive comments from the PRMs including improved dignity.

Where should the wheelchair transfer take place?

  1. Some airlines prefer to lift the passenger from their wheelchair in the aircraft at the junction of the aisle and the door entrance.
  2. Where there is not enough space in the aircraft, or for convenience, the lift can be made in the air bridge. This has the advantage of reducing the time that the Eagle is in the aircraft. A suitable ramp or transition plate is required to facilitate the Eagle entering the aircraft.
  3. At remote gate the passenger is picking up in the Eagle on the ground and then both are lifted to the aircraft by a suitable lift. The wheelchair lifts or ambilift currently used are good for this.
  4. Ramps are often used for loading regional aircraft. Here the passenger is lifted in the Eagle on the ground and ten pushed up the ramp to the aircraft. A transition plate may be required at the door.

How long will the batteries last?

We would expect more than 60 lifts can be made with a fully charged battery. However, in this application we strongly advise that the the battery be put on charge when the hoist is not being used. This should mean that a battery life of several years is realistic.

How do we handle different size passengers?

Slings are available in sizes Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. Medium and Large slings cater for most passengers.

The sling can be considered as a seat and base of the seat is relatively the same for all. So the height of the passenger is not import. The person’s dimension’s that actually contact the seat are important. Large buttocks and thighs will require a larger sling.

The Eagle has been tested to a Safe Working Load (SWL) of 250 kg / 550 lb. In reality, a judgement may have to made whether a person of that mass will fit down the aisle and into their allocated seat.

Can the Eagle access Business and First class seats?

The Eagle 2A can lift passengers over fixed armrests. It can also extend to fit over long haul sleeper seats.

Why not just use an aisle chair?

PRMs requiring full assistance may not be able to support themselves in an aisle chair. Many have reported feeling very uncomfortable and unsafe on an aisle chair.

The manual lifting of a passenger into an aisle chair and then into their allocated seat is dangerous and undignified for both passengers and staff. It also requires 2 transfers. Wheelchairs are set up for comfort and safety. They also provide independence, and once someone is removed from their wheelchair, these basic essentials are taken away.